Jennifer Brozek | On Tooting One’s Own Horn

On Tooting One’s Own Horn

Yesterday, Jeff Sturgeon came over with the hardback Last Cities of Earth anthology to sign for the kickstarter backers. It was, of course, socially distanced and masked at a table set up in the garage. It’s the only way I see people now who are not in my socially distanced bubble. He gave me my copy of the anthology and I put it up on my brag shelf.

The last time we updated my brag shelf, I thought about posting pictures of it online. I didn’t because, well, there was (is) a lot going on in 2020 and it didn’t seem like a good time. I took pictures and did nothing with them. I figured it would be in bad taste. It wouldn’t be appropriate. It wouldn’t be [insert whatever excuse here].

Still, after I added the new anthology, I took more pictures then paused and wondered if it would be appropriate to show off the shelf. As a woman, I’ve been taught to not take up space. That if I talk about my own accomplishments, I am arrogant and should be more humble. If I announce that I have works that are available for reading and even awards consideration, I am being a gold digger. It doesn’t matter that none of these things happen to my male counterparts. I am the one who hesitates because I’m the one who gets hit with it inside and out.

No more. I can’t allow that. If I don’t believe in my own work, no one else will.

Slowly, I am teaching myself that it is fine, it is right, it is appropriate to take up space. I am allowed. I can show off my accomplishments. I can tell the world that I have works to consider for reading, and dare I say it, awards. It’s so easy for me to tell my friends that they and their work deserve space, notice, and praise. Why not me?

I am learning that I can be my own friend. I can toot my own horn. I can cheer for myself as much as I cheer for others. I have to learn this to be a good example to others like me.

It’s hard. My fingers stumble over the keyboard keys as I type this. I hesitate. I am not sure.

That doesn’t matter. I will damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead anyway. Because if I won’t, who will? Sometimes, you must be your own cheering section.

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